A fresh wave of homicides rocked Guadalajara last week, following on the heels of a similar rash of murders last month.
While it is easy to write off the incidents as being the result of an internal power struggle within the Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG) cartel and/or between distinct cartels, their sheer number is hard to take lightly.
The most grisly evidence of the recent killings was the pile of eight mutilated corpses discovered at 7 a.m. in the trailer of a large red RAM pickup truck, abandoned on calle Ruiseñor between calles Perdiz and Codorniz, Colonia Morelos, less than 30 minutes south of the Guadalajara cathedral on foot. The victims, all men, were between 25 and 35 years of age.
Another eight people were victims of gun violence in the same general period, bringing the total to 16 fatalities in less than 24 hours.
In Tlajomulco at noon, four people were riddled with bullets in a house located in the Los Encinos subdivision. One of the four managed to survive his wounds and at press time was interned in a hospital in critical condition.
Just 20 minutes later at the corner of avenidas Rafael Sanzio and Guadalupe, a short walk from bucolic Parque Metropolitano de Guadalajara, a man was gunned down outside a pizzeria. Police found several 9-millimeter casings at the crime scene.
In the Colonia Jardines Universidad at 10 p.m., the corpse of a 35-year-old man was discovered inside a grey BMW. The victim had suffered a bullet wound to the head.
The remaining three fatal casualties occurred the previous Monday night: two lifeless bodies were found sprawled out on the pavement at the Periferico Nuevo Gomez Morin near the off-ramp to Zapotlanejo, and one man was ambushed while leaving his home on Santa Rosa in Tlaquepaque’s Colonia La Micailita.
The murders which occurred Monday and Tuesday bring the number of March homicides in Jalisco up to 59. While it’s possible they are, at least in part, related to the ongoing power struggle within the CJNG following the arrest of local leader “El Argentino,” State’s Attorney General Raul Sanchez Jimenez has said that the recent killings have as much to do with a conflict between separate cartels. While he declined to specify the cartels in question, he did hint that the two gangs hailed from Jalisco and Sinaloa.
Meanwhile, Governor Sandoval, usually a voice of optimism, warned citizens that they should expect the violence to escalate even more in the coming days.
“I’m not going to lie to you, it’s going to get complicated,” said Sandoval at a press conference Wednesday. “This crime wave isn’t going to end soon. What we need to do is contain it, and to not be afraid to make ourselves heard. If we normalize violence, we will have lost the battle.”
A key area where the battle against narco violence can be fought, according to the governor, is in the hearts and minds of Guadalajara’s citizenry, for which he urged its youth to not seek what they may see as the easy way out, because “very soon that route will end badly, if not in jail than in a coffin.”
For his part, Sanchez Jimenez assured the public that he, together with federal and municipal authorities, are working to end the deadly turf war that has been the chief generator of the homicide epidemic.